"Oh hey, I've been travelin' on this road too long
Just tryin' to find my way back home
But the old me's dead and gone
Dead and gone."
Those are lyrics from a T. I. song that I absolutely love. It just rings so true for my life. Yep, this writer is getting personal today.
Just like so many others, I've gone through some major changes in my life over the past year(s), and I continue to do so. Whether it's small changes like weight or big changes like moving to a completely new environment, we've all been there before. With each new chapter in our lives, the "old" us is dead and gone to some degree.
I have faced an incredible amount of change and turmoil, and I'm sure you have as well. I think's it too be expected. Life has yet to NOT throw me curve balls. I have traveled on this road (of life) for far too long - longer than most people could ever imagine (let's just say that my age does not dictate the amount of life experience I have). I'd love to find my way back home. To me home is simplicity; child-like wonder; comfort and no worries. But some times in life, my vision is hazy so I can't find my way back home. I try to make my current "home" as much as the ideal as I can, but it's not always perfect. I am changing, my environment is changing, and stresses aren't going away. The old (child-like) me's are, without question, dead and gone.
I am in a constant state of flux. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing. It just is. These changes, these fluxes, these new chapters all help me to grow as a person. They challenge my morals; they challenge my thinking; they challenge me on levels from the most minute to the grandest of scales. They make me look at myself and decide if I am genuinely happy with the person who is looking back at me.
These thoughts, changes and challenges also help me to continue to write from the heart. To write poetry that stems from the depth of my soul, or to create novels, characters and stories that tug at your heart strings because in one way or another, they tugged at mine. I wouldn't be a good writer if I didn't do that. If I stayed stagnant, I'd be a formula writer like Mary Higgins Clark. Now, granted she's a "name" in the writing industry, but each one of her novels is exactly the same. Change a few details, some characters names, etc., but the story line is redundant. I hate redundancy and stagnation. NOT my cup of tea. Therefore, I allow myself to feel and to think and to be challenged so that every work of mine stands on its own.
So that the new me can stand on my own as well.
Yes, the old me is dead and gone. There is no doubt about that in my mind. I've been here before, and it's not a scary place. Because I know that death brings about a new me. A better me. A more creative me. It creates new stories within me. Just as death always brings about new life in the natural world, so it is for us within ourselves (you could even say on a spiritual level).
So what if I have changed? So what if I have grown or even improved as a human being? Isn't that our ultimate goal in life? To be the best human being we can possibly be? It is for me. This change - this death - brings about relief for I no longer carry the burdens and issues of the past. They, too, are dead and gone. As are my old ways of writing. Sure, I can still write historical non-fiction like it's nobody's business. But now, I also create worlds, people, lives and stories that are far more colorful than the dry, black and white regurgitation of historical events. I will be greatly satisfied with myself and my life when my time comes if I can say that I never became a stagnant human being; that I challenged myself as a writer and all that I wrote came from my heart.
I may still be traveling this same road of life. I'm sure I'll be traveling on it for longer than I ever anticipated, but I know the end result is actually a beautiful work.